Thursday, October 22, 2020

Once Lost Louise Brooks Film Now Online - Watch it NOW

In what is certainly the biggest news since it was found in 2016 (see Huffington Post article), the 23 minute surviving fragment of a once lost Louise Brooks' film, Now We're in the Air, is now online and available for viewing courtesy of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. 

The film located in Prague by Rob Byrne, president of the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. It was restored by the SFSFF and Národní filmový archiv (the Czech National Film Archive). The restored fragment premiered at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival in 2017, and has been shown only a few times around the world since then. It's most recent screening takes place TODAY as part of a major Louise Brooks retrospective at FilmPodium in Zurich, Switzerland. Prior to that, it was shown at the Melbourne Cinémathèque in Melbourne, Australia in 2019.

Now We're in the Air can be seen on the San Francisco Silent Film Festival website  (which features additional information and a program essay) or on the SFSFF's Vimeo page. For this online premiere, the fragment features a musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne. The film is also embedded below.

Now We're in the Air from SF Silent Film Festival on Vimeo.

Now We're in the Air is a farce. And though not a masterpiece, it is still as significant film, not only because of Brooks’ widespread popularity, but because it helps fill a gap in the legendary actress’ body of work. Until now, each of the four films Brooks made in 1927—at the peak of her American career—have been considered lost.

Directed by Frank Strayer, Now We’re in the Air is a World War One comedy starring future Oscar winner Wallace Beery and the once popular character actor Raymond Hatton. The film, released by Paramount, also features Brooks in two supporting roles. The actress plays twins, one raised French, one raised German, who are the love interest of two goofy fliers. The surviving footage of Brooks only includes her in the role of the French twin, a carnival worker dressed in a short, dark tutu. 

My wife and I had a small hand in the preservation of the film, having uncovered the film's continuity as well as other related documents which helped piece the surviving fragments back together in the right order with correct tinting and correct English-language subtitles. Our efforts, along with those of Robert Byrne and others are detailed in my 2017 book, Now We're in the Air: A companion to the once "lost" film. This 130 page, illustrated book tells the story of the film’s making, its reception, and its discovery by film preservationist Robert Byrne. Also considered is the surprising impact this otherwise little known film has had on Brooks’ life and career. With two rare fictionalizations of the movie story, more than 75 little seen images, detailed credits, trivia, and a foreword by Byrne. It is, in my opinion, essential reading for any fan of Louise Brooks. And at a mere $15.00, a bargain as well.



1 comment:

Decodex said...

It's so nice to see anything new with Louise!

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